The exact definition of the Internet of Things has consistently been evolving and up for debate. However, broadly speaking, it refers to the way a number of normal everyday devices are able to connect to one another as a part of a network and transmit data via the internet. What are the pros and cons of this increased level of connectivity?
First, let's discuss some of the most common benefits of the Internet of Things.
- Convenience - The Internet of things has made the transmission of data instantaneous and efficient, across domestic and commercial applications. This applies to everything from remote-controlled house heating, to the monitoring of medical equipment.
- Cost - The Internet of Things saves money by improving both energy and operational efficiency. With so many devices now able to communicate their power usage, they can be much more easily monitored and managed. The IoT is also highly flexible in its implementation.
- Data - There is a much larger pool of data available to users, thanks to the Internet of Things. This data is comprehensive and available instantly, allowing users to make more informed decisions. This data can also be shared among different machines relatively easily.
The Internet of Things has much to offer in a number of different applications. But there are drawbacks.
- Security - As so many devices are connected to a network, it automatically makes the sensitive information shared amongst machines vulnerable to attack. Compromised privacy is a consistent concern, as users are encouraged to entrust more and more private information to their devices connected to the IoT.
- Compatibility - The Internet of Things currently has no international compatibility standards, making communication between devices from different regions and manufacturers potentially difficult. This can quite easily offset one of the core benefits of the IoT, which is its convenience and flexibility.
- Dependency - As many systems in the Internet of Things are automated, one small glitch, security breach, or bug has the potential to bring the whole network and all its processes to a shuddering halt. Systems are designed with fail-safes to account for this, however, it can still be a very real concern in larger networks.
The Internet of Things is far from perfect, however that doesn't mean its benefits are to be ignored. If used judiciously, and with mindfulness of the potential pitfalls, the Internet of Things has much to offer both domestically and commercially.